Kamusta sa tanan sa akong pinakamaayonga mga higala ug pamilya,(How's that for some Cebuano^^^^^^) So I'm just about wrapping up my final week at the MTC before I head off to the Philippines! How crazy is that! So, as an appropriate farewell email from the States, here are some of the reasons why I have grown to love the MTC (in no particular order)
1. I have been able to make lifetime friends from all around the world - Australia, Samoa, Tonga, Singapore, India, Taiwan, New Zealand, the Kiribati Islands and even some far away places like Utah, New York, Washington, and California (: I truly feel like I got to work with the brightest, happiest, most hard working missionaries in my zone and district and I've been so blessed by their example! One person in particular that has really made such an impact on me is Sister Matialagan. I was her host at the MTC her first day. So get this - she's from India, no one in her family are members of the Church except her older sister, she is a recent convert, and her mother passed away recently. And what did she decide to do? Sacrifice so much to serve a mission because of her faith and trust in the Lord. Despite trials she has had in her life, she is just the most positive, radiant, bubbly person you will ever meet and I'm so glad our paths could cross so I could be blessed by her!
2. In 6 weeks, I've been able to learn the same amount of Cebuano that what would have normally taken six month's time if I had learned it anywhere else. And I have grown to LOVE the Cebuano language, even if sometimes it makes no sense to me and I don't know if I'm saying "This Gospel was restored by Joseph Smith" or "The camel ate the bubble gum off my shoe" (I'm pretty sure I will provide enough entertainment for the entire nation of Cebu within my first week there)
3. Each week at the MTC Devotionals I get to hear from amazing and inspired men and women (especially Elder Bednar!) who have been led by the Spirit to give divine counsel that was the answer to many of my prayers
4. I have never been happier (: I can say that honestly and whole heartedly. I have loved getting to do what I do everyday at the MTC because I get to immerse myself in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no sweeter or rewarding work than that and I can't wait to share this love and joy and happiness with my Filipinos in Cebu! I haven't met them yet, but I already love them to death and I know that some have been prepared to receive the message I have to share. I love this Gospel and I know it is absolutely true. I know that is the only source of true and lasting happiness and that if one seeks to find out more of the Gospel through prayer and reading the Book of Mormon, they will find their answers to their questions, their peace, their solace, and everlasting happiness. I know that not only does this Gospel bless lives, but it changes lives. I can certainly testify of this truthfulness because I have seen eternal happiness and blessings pour into my life as I have lived the Gospel in my life.
Salamat kaayo (Thanks so much) for all of the love and support and prayers emails and letters and packages that I have received from everyone! I really do feel like the most loved and spoiled missionary in the MTC (: If I don't make it past my first week in the Philippines (jokelang (just kidding in Cebuano) - I totally will), I want everyone to know how much I love them and how much I love the Gospel! I'm wishing everyone the BEST week of their life yet! And if it's turning out to be an uneventful week, make it the best week yet (:
Nahigugma ko kaninyo!
P.S. For the pictures this week I have:
1. A picture with my new companion (which brings my total companion count to 3) Sister Porter, who is serving in New Zealand, Samoan speaking. She was SO great, and a perfect companion to end my time here at the MTC with
2. A picture with some of the greatest friends in the history of greatest friends!!!! Shoutout to Mics, Maris, Kie, Ian, Max, Mitch, and Dusty for giving me the BEST surprise ever - intercepting me on my way to the temple to give me farewell wishes and the best hugs ever (only from the girls of course (: ) I love you all so much!!!! Thanks for being the cherry on top of what has been a perfect 6 weeks and putting the biggest smile on my face (: You fubecas are the best!